Thai Chicken

This recipe can be served in the winter with rice – or served with a pasta salad as a delicious barbecue option in the summer)                       thai chicken chunks

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into small chunks if serving with rice; cut into thin fillets if grilling on a barbecue)


1 red chilli, finally chopped (or 1 tsp Lazy Chillies)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped  (or 1 tsp Lazy Garlic)

50g chopped fresh coriander

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh lemongrass

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tbsp lime juice

  1. Put the chicken chunks or fillets into a nonmetallic bowl, stir the marinade through and chill for at least 2-1/2 hours in the fridge.
  2. Cook the chunks in the oven for about 20 minutes and serve with jasmine rice; or grill the fillets on a barbecue until cooked through and serve with a pasta salad.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Combine in bowl, for marinade:                  

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp soy sauce

Add to marinade and let stand 20-30 minutes:

500g chicken, diced

Prepare and set aside:

1 clove garlic, minced

4 slices ginger root, finely chopped

1 green pepper, cut in chunks

1 onion, cut in wedges

1 tomato, cut in wedges

3/4 cup pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)

Combine and set aside:

3 tbsp vinegar

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cornflour

3/4 cup pineapple juice

Heat in a wok or skillet:

4 tbsp oil

Dredge chicken pieces in cornflour and fry in oil till brown.

Remove from wok and keep warm.

Stir-fry garlic, ginger, peppers and onions 2-3 minutes.

Add tomato chunks, pineapple chunks and sauce ingredients.

Cook just until sauce thickens and clears.

Return chicken to wok, heat to bubbling, and serve immediately with rice.

Onions and peppers should be partially crisp.



Spicy Lentil Soup

2 large carrots grated (or diced if preferred )
1 red or yellow pepper chopped finely
1 onion chopped finely
1 ounce red lentils
I tin chopped tomatoes
300 mls stock
1 teaspoon Tabasco ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon mixed herbs

Sauté carrots ,onions and pepper with mixed herbs in a little olive oil for a few minutes.
Add all the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft.
Can be served as it is if you like a chunky soup or blend if you like a smoother consistency.
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle of parsley or coriander.

Plum tart

When we lived in Switzerland, we looked forward to the month of September for its plums and plum tarts.     plum tart

Here is a great recipe I found on the BBC Food website.

For the pastry (though I cheated and used frozen ready-made pastry)

For the frangipane

(I actually used half of this and found it absolutely enough)

For the tart filling

  • 5-6 ripe plums, each cut into eighths, stones removed

To serve

  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • whipped cream or crème fraîche
  1. For the pastry, sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Tip the cubed butter into the bowl. Rub the butter and the flour between your thumb and fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  2. In a jug or small bowl, beat the egg together with four tablespoons of ice-cold water. Pour into the flour mixture.

  3. Slowly bring the ingredients together with your hands to form a dough, being careful not to overwork it.

  4. Knead the dough lightly on a clean, floured work surface, then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

  5. For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground almonds and mix well until combined. Set aside.

  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Dust the work surface with flour and roll the chilled dough out thinly. Use it to line one large 25cm/10in tart ring or 6-8 individual tartlet rings 8cm/3¼in in diameter. Trim away any excess.

  7. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case so that it comes about halfway up the sides. Smooth over the surface with a spatula and cover the frangipane evenly with the plums.

  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes (15-25 minutes for the tartlets), or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown and the fruit is tender.

  9. Remove the tart(s) from the oven. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Chicken curry

This recipe is taken from the Milk Marketing Board recipe book, ‘A Touch of Natural Goodness’.

500g uncooked, chopped chicken       curry

50g butter

1 onion, chopped

1 piece root ginger, chopped

30 ml tomato chutney

285ml chicken stock

145ml dairy cream (optional)

Parsley, chopped

Seasoned flour

50g plain flour

1 tsp paprika pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 dsp turmeric

1tbsp hot curry powder

salt, to taste

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the seasoned flour in a plastic bag, add the chicken pieces, seal and shake to ensure chicken is well coated.
  2. Melt butter, lightly brown chicken pieces until well sealed, add onion and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add chutney and stock and bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in cream and heat through.
  6. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice.

It’s jam-making time again!

IMG_7381We had a good harvest of blackcurrants from our garden and, using them as the base, I have made three types of jam.

For all 3 recipes, to sterilise the jars, I washed and dried them, placed them on a baking tray and heated them in the oven (160 degrees) for 10 minutes. To test when the jam was ready, I turned off the heat and spooned a little hot jam onto a chilled saucer (from the freezer). Once cool, you push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles a little, it’s ready and has reached setting point. If it is too runny to wrinkle, you return the pan to the heat and cook in 2-3 minute stages, removing the pan from the heat each time you do the saucer check, until the jam wrinkles. To seal the jam, I used the ‘upside down method’: you ladle the jam into the jars, filling them to the brim; then securely place the screw-top lids on top and turn upside down; leave to cool before turning the jars the right way up.

Here are the recipes (each makes about 4 jam jars of jam):

Blackcurrant and Strawberry Jam

(adapted from a recipe on

  • 500g blackcurrants
  • 400g strawberries
  • 750g jam sugar (the one with added pectin)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • finger-tip size knob of butter ((optional)
  1. The night before you make your jam, layer the berries and sugar together in a very large bowl, then cover and set aside at room temperature. This helps the sugar to start dissolving so you don’t run the risk of over-cooking the fruit when you actually begin to make the jam. The next morning, give everything a quick stir, then set aside again until you are ready to start cooking.
  2. Before you start, put a small saucer in the freezer. Tip the berries, scraping out all juices and any undissolved sugar, into a preserving pan, or a large, wide-based pan (the wider and more open the pan, the faster the jam will be ready so a preserving pan is really ideal). Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Start the berries over a low heat until all the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins maximum.
  4. Skim off any excess scum, then stir in the knob of butter, if you want – this will help to dissolve any remaining scum. The jam will keep in a cool, dark place for at least 6 months. Refrigerate jars once opened.Blackcurrant and Apple Jam

(adapted from a recipe on       blackcurrant-jam)

  • 500g blackcurrants
  • 500g bramley cooking apples
  • 2 tbsp Jo Hilditch cassis
  • 1 x 1kg pack preserving sugar
  1. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks and place the fruit in a large preserving pan (or a very large saucepan). Add the blackcurrants and cassis along with 2 tablespoons of water and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the apple and blackcurrants have reduced to a soft pulp – add a little more water if the fruit sticks to the base of the pan.
  2. Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it is completely dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Cook the jam at a rapid boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the jam burning on the bottom of the pan. The jam should take 5-7 minutes to reach setting point.

Blackcurrant and Apricot Jam

  • 1 kg. (stoned) fresh apricots
  • 300g blackcurrants
  • 1.1kg sugar
  1. Cut the apricots into quarters; remove and discard the stones.
  2. Add them to the blackcurrants and sugar and leave in a cool place for 12 hours.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes maximum, stirring from time to time and skimming frequently.



Pesto Pasta Salad

500g fusilli pasta                                         pesto pasta salad

For the pesto:

1-1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp red- or white-wine vinegar

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

pinch salt

freshly ground black pepper

Salad ingredients:

Choose things like chopped cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves, feta, black olives, pine nuts.

  1. Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain and allow to cool.
  2. Put the pesto ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When the pasta is cool, add your choice of salad ingredients.
  4. Pour pesto over the salad and toss the salad well.